Though she would have preferred long ago to have died, fled, gotten it all over with, the body--Jesus, how the body!--took its time. It possessed its own wishes and nostalgias. You could not just turn neatly into light and slip out the window. You couldn't go like that. Within one's own departing but stubborn flesh, there was only the long, sentimental, piecemeal farewell. The body, hauling sadness, pursued the soul, hobbled after. The body was like a sweet, dim dog trotting lamely toward the gate as you tried slowly to drive off, out the long driveway. barked the dog. , it said, running along the fence, almost keeping pace but not quite, its reflection a shrinking charm in the car mirrors as you trundled past the viburnium, past the pin grove, past the property line, past every last patch of land, straight down the swallowing road, disappearing and disappearing. Until at last it was true: you had disappeared.
I often think that at the center of me is a voice that at last did split, a house in my heart so invaded with other people and their speech, friends I believed I was devoted to, people whose lives I can simply guess at now, that it gives me the impression I am simply a collection of them, that they all existed for themselves, but had inadvertently formed me, then vanished. But, what: Should I have been expected to create my own self, out of nothing, out of thin, thin air and alone?
Abby began to think that all the beauty and ugliness and turbulence one found scattered through nature, one could also find in people themselves, all collected there, all together in a single place. No matter what terror or loveliness the earth could produce- wind, seas- a person could produce the same, lived with the same, lived with all that mixed-uup nature swirling inside, every bit. There was nothing as complex in the world- no flower or stone- as a single hello from a human being.
Later I would come to believe that erotic ties were all a spell, a temporary psychosis, even a kind of violence, or at least they coexisted with these states. I noted that criminals as well as the insane tended to give off a palpable, vibrating allure, a kind of animal magnetism that kept them loved by someone. How else could they survive at all? Someone had to hide them from the authorities! Hence the necessity and prevalence of sex appeal for people who were wild and on the edge.
[T]he normal and the everyday are often amazingly unstoppable, and what is unimaginable is the cessation of them. The world is resilient, and, no matter what interruptions occur, people so badly want to return to their lives and get on with them. A veneer of civilization descends quickly, like a shining rain. Dust is settled.
Her rage flopped awkwardly away like a duck. She felt as she had when her cold, fierce parents had at last grown sick and old, stick-boned and saggy, protected by infirmity the way cuteness protected a baby, or should, it should protect a baby, and she had been left with her rage--vestigial, girlhood rage--inappropriate and intact. She would hug her parents good-bye, the gentle, emptied sacks of them, and think